DEVILS & THIEVES
by Jennifer Rush
I received this free physical ARC from THE NOVL in exchange for my honest review.
Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn’t help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.
When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumour begins spreading that someone is practising forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.
I really love this story. It’s got quite a mixture of themes and sub-plots that are all interwoven into the main plot to make it just a little more complicated. And there is a constant undertone of dark, gritty, edginess, which is my personal favorite. I mean, who doesn’t love some biker-gang gang rivalries going on? And then you throw some magic into it! Very awesome with a well-designed and developed world and magic system.
While I enjoyed the story from the get-go, the start was a bit rough. It took a while to get into the meat of the story and the character interactions like the first chapter or two are just set-up and those made it feel slower than I would’ve liked. Additionally, the book felt a little short when you realize that the first few chapters don’t feel necessary. So, I think I would’ve liked more going on in the main plot of the story and less beginning, but it wasn’t like I wanted to put it down at any point. I just couldn’t figure out the plot right off the bat.
Speaking of Plot
I… didn’t see that one coming. I think because of how the book started, I was expecting something very different. The story doesn’t start with the main plot, but actually introduces the reader to a half-dozen sub-plots first. Thus, when we finally got to the main plot of the story, I was surprised and a bit off-kilter. Not that I’m complaining. That main plot is AWESOME! (A little on the obvious side), but I was totally fine with the ‘plot switch.’
Alright. I got a caveat with all my praise for this book. The main character’s development (insert spoilers here) was unbelievable for me. Yeah, yeah, they explain it all in later chapters about why it happened as a means to make it more believable, but… because the explanation was so late in the story, I just didn’t even accept the explanation as reality. The change in the MC was too fast, especially given the way all the other characters talk about it. So, while I understand the development of the character, it was just much too fast for the way the story played out and therefore unrealistic, in my mind. (See spoilers for more details.)
MC Development In Detail
So, the main character stays away from her magic because she’s afraid of this special ability she has and thinks it’s why her dad left and blah, blah, blah. She’s not used magic in near a decade and is absolutely petrified of doing so. She doesn’t even practice. Yet, the instant she needs magic, BAM, she’s a natural. She doesn’t have any struggles along the way or anything. She’s just mega-super-powerful and can control her magic without any practice and this change is over the course of what? Two days? Yeah. Not likely. Love Triangle
Uh… I have mixed feelings about this. I totally feel the chemistry between the characters in the love triangle, but at the same time… I kind of felt like it was dragged out, a bit over the top, and WAY too center stage. Yes, it plays a role in the end (p.s. Darek is insane, using love as a means to take revenge on someone. Yeah, y’all don’t know each other THAT well,) but it almost overshadowed the main plot and I didn’t think this was supposed to be a romance story. So, I do have issues with that and there never really seemed to be any question of who Jemmie was gonna pick/end up with in the end. Omnias Prediction
Umm… I have a couple issues with the predictions in this story. So… Old Lady Jane said one person was gonna die, but both Darek and Killian died (unless we’re assuming that Darek isn’t dead and is gonna come back to take his revenge in book 2), but technically Jemmie also died (and came back to life.) So, three people died. But does Old Lady Jane still get to say she’s never wrong about deaths if Jemmie came back to life? I’m very confuzzled on this topic and want some clarification.